All Maine Matters

February 2006



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A New Hope for Maine
By Dan Schuberth

Yesterday evening at the State of the State address, Governor Baldacci provided ample evidence for why he is regarded as one of America’s most unpopular Governors by his constituents. One every issue the Governor chose to discuss, he offered up misleading rhetoric with no real evidence to support his claim that the State of the State is “strong, secure and healthy”. While the speech was clearly aimed at calming the growing fears among citizens across the state, those who attended the speech, both on the left and the right, departed from the State House genuinely worried about our State’s future. They have good reason to worry.

As a young person looking forward to raising a family here in Maine, I was alarmed both by what the Governor talked about and what he chose not to talk about during his speech to the Legislature. I was alarmed by the fact that the Governor refuses to acknowledge one of the most glaring problems facing our state today: the shortage of good-paying jobs. While the Governor cited modest gains in employment in a select few of Maine’s regions, he glossed over the fact that hundreds of our young people are forced to leave the state each year upon completion of their education to seek employment in other states. This mass exodus is in direct correlation to the fact that Maine continues to have one of the most oppressive climates for businesses, despite the Governor’s unsubstantiated claim that Maine is the most business-friendly state in New England. If this was truly the case, then Maine’s best and brightest would not be driving south to New Hampshire to seek employment.

While the Governor highlighted the success of a select group of small businesses operating in designated “pine tree zones” dotted across the state, the very concept of a pine tree zone demonstrates the Governor’s erroneous philosophy on economic regulation and job creation. The Democrats in Augusta herald pine tree zones as favors to new businesses struggling to survive in Maine’s tax climate. The Republican solution is quite simple. There is no reason why all of Maine should not be designated as a pine tree zone, with less government regulation, lower taxes and a reduced cost of doing business. This concept is completely lost in Maine’s Democratic leadership.

What was most troubling about the Governor’s speech, however, was his strong support for the failed Dirigo Health experiment. No matter how Maine’s Democratic machine spins it, when the state pays over 50 million dollars to ensure a meager 2,000 people who were previously uninsured, I call that program an utter failure. To make matters worse, the Governor actually proposed an expansion of the program! When a car’s engine breaks down and the machine fails to work properly, it would be ludicrous to put new tires on it and polish the windshield; yet this is precisely what the Governor is proposing to do with Dirigo Health.

The Governor made it quite clear in his speech that his ultimate plan is the complete destruction of private insurance and the institution of a state-run single-payer healthcare system. Such a system would place a tremendous burden on state government and Maine’s taxpayers, and significantly reduce the quality and efficiency of healthcare services. Anyone who values quality health insurance and has struggled to provide it to their family and business should be terrified by the Governor’s proposals.

But there is hope for Maine after all. Augusta Democrats are deserting the Governor, the media has left his side, and common-sense Mainers across the state are no longer buying into the rhetoric and empty promises. With the recent Democratic defections in the Maine legislature, House Republicans are now only one seat down from gaining majority status and restoring sanity to state government. Maine’s Republican leaders have articulated a clear message of reform, based upon the principles of fiscal discipline, government accountability and a spirit of fair play. They understand that real job creation in Maine should not be driven by the Government, but rather through the free market and the ingenuity of Maine’s small business owners. They understand that a stifling tax burden gives these businesses little chance to succeed, and prevents Maine’s young people from remaining here in Maine. They understand that the quality and affordability of healthcare can only be maintained through private insurance companies competing for Maine business in the free market.

Maine voters will face a clear choice at the polls on November 7th. I am confident that the Republican Party and its fantastic team of local and statewide candidates will make a convincing argument to Maine’s voters that the time has come for significant changes in leadership across the state. I urge those that are reading this to contact me directly and join our campaign to save Maine’s future. I firmly believe that Maine’s best days are yet to come.

Dan Schuberth currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Maine Republican Party, making him the youngest State Party officer in the country at 21 years old. Dan previously served as the State Chairman of the Maine College Republicans from 2003-2005. He is currently finishing up his senior year at Bowdoin College. He can be reached at or at (207) 622-6247.

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